One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

September 26, 2006

For Tuesday of the Twenty-Fifth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Luke 8:19-21

Who belongs to the family of the Lord?
He tells us they are those who hear the word of God and do it.
The Gospel does not tell us the Lord simply refused to see or to speak to his mother Mary.
Similarly, we may not presume the Lord did not count his mother Mary as one who hears the word of God and acts on it.
In the Gospel, Mary is the first to say, “Behold the slave of the Lord: be it done unto me according to thy WORD.”
Mary is the first and only one who not only obeyed the Word of God, but also conceived the Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit, and gave birth to him, thus becoming the Mother of the Word of God in flesh and blood.
Newly gestating the Word of God in the flesh, Mary visits her relative Elizabeth.
The Holy Spirit fills Elizabeth with the Word of God announcing to Mary, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”
The Son of God himself will declare [cf. Mt. 7:18,20]:
A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit,
nor can a bad tree bear good fruit….
Thus you will know them by their fruits.

By the standard of God himself and the Word of his Gospel, Mary is a blessed hearer, bearer and doer of God’s word.
God is looking for those who will hear his Word and obey it as his mother did.
He also challenges us who would do the same by teaching us:
Whoever would follow me
must deny himself
and take up his cross….
Where I am
there also will my servant be.

When the Lord took up his cross, Mary went after him, and stood at the feet of her crucified Son the Word of God.
Where I am
there also will my servant be.

Mary is a model of obedience, fidelity and love for Christ.
When we celebrate the Liturgy of the Lord, and listen to him in his Holy Gospel, we are seated in the world’s front row as the disciples of Christ.
Here and now, we are the first to hear the Word of God.
Therefore, we are also the first to have an obligation to obey the Word of God.
When we offer, celebrate and receive the Eucharist of the Lord, we are in the front row at the foot of the Cross, even though we look on from the vantage point of the Resurrection.
The Eucharist was consummated on the Cross and glorified in the Resurrection.
We adore you, O Christ,
and we bless you,
for by your holy cross
you have redeemed the world.

Gratitude can move us to obey the Word of God.
The word “gratitude” and the word “grace” have the same root.
Also, the Greek-rooted word “eucharist” is a cousin of “gratitude” and “grace”.
The work of gratitude, grace and the Eucharist involves both a free gift from God and a free return from us.
God’s grace, our gratitude and the Eucharist can draw and move us to follow the cross of Christ, can preserve us as members of the Resurrection, and can count us in as the family of Christ, together with his blessed mother and all the angels and saints who hear and obey the Word of God.

That God Be Glorified in All


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